Over the years, Kobe Bryant and Dahntay Jones have had their battles that stem from numerous dirty plays committed by the former Duke player. During the 2012-13 season, Jones walked underneath Bryant on a fadeaway jumper that resulted in a severe ankle sprain.
With the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, it will be the first time the two players will face off against each other since the incident. While Bryant makes his return from two season-ending injuries, Jones is attempting to make Utah’s roster.
Before the matchup, Jones says he respects Bryant and acknowledges him as one of the greatest to ever play this game according to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune:
“I have a great deal of respect for that man,” Jones said this week. “He’s one of the greatest to ever play the game. … It’s great for the game for Kobe to be back, for him to [persevere] through all the adversity. He’s a legend.”
While Jones praises the five-time champion, he also says his job is to slow him down and frustrate him:
“You know, my job in the past has been to just try to slow him down and try to confuse him and frustrate him,” Jones said.
Although two seasons have passed since the incident, it will be interesting to see how Bryant approaches this preseason game. At the time of the injury, Bryant shared he couldn’t get his mind past the fact that he had to wait another season to get revenge.
Heading into tonight’s game against the Jazz, there is plenty of motivation for Bryant and the Lakers. ESPN recently ranked Bryant the 40th best player in the NBA while predicting the Lakers will finish 13th in the Western Conference.[divide]
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